This is the first time I’ve literally rolled up my sleeves to type a post. And, I’m not sure if that is a good sign or not. (Wink.) The last few days, I’ve shared with you some of the challenges of writing the next part of this story. While I am not completely ready in my mind to do it, my heart was tugged in that direction this morning. WARNING: The style of writing (and voice) will be different than the last chapters, but I think it’s the only way I can tell the story.
About seven years ago, I was planning a trip home from Albania. My brother-in-law was getting married during the summer that year; I had an opportunity to visit my family before the big day. Arrangements were made for me and my two kids to stay with my parents for a week, and my sister for a week. Then, my husband would join us for a few days and off to Wisconsin we would go to celebrate a union of love.
Skip ahead a few months –
It’s just a few days from my date of arrival in Oklahoma. My grandmother had been trying to reach me by phone much of the last week, but with the time change and all, I was never home when she called and when I had a moment to return the call, it wasn’t the best time for her. I saved her messages to remind me to call her over the weekend.
I never did.
Instead, I received a call from my mom informing me grandma had passed away. I was devastated. She was the glue of our family. She was the one that made me feel like I could do anything. She was the one who understood leaving home to be with your husband wherever it leads. She was the one that I looked up to, admired and emulated.
I cried every day until I got on that plane. I cried on the plane from Tirana to London. I cried on the plane from London to Chicago. And, I cried on the plane from Chicago to Tulsa. No one helped me or comforted me during those several hours of travel. Not a single stewardess or airline worker did one thing to make it smoother or easier for a mother traveling with two kids. The stroller, the carseat, the carry-on bags and the luggage. Imagine the disaster at customs. And, not a single helping hand through any of it. Oh, but, I could tell you a few stories of selfish and rude encounters I had during those hours of travel; talk about kicking someone when they are down. (Nah, I will save them for another post. Wink.)
Yesterday, I read a book called The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I highlighted these words to ponder during my online book club meeting this month,
“Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside…people are much more complicated than that.”
I really liked this, as it made me think quite a bit yesterday and also this morning while getting ready for the day. I thought of how I am a really quiet person. I can’t handle large groups and get overwhelmed around ‘energy vampires.’ If I am talking, I’m usually cracking jokes and acting silly, to protect myself from misunderstanding. Jokes as a coping mechanism – so original, I know. There are very few people I let inside to see what I truly look like. Working on changing that!
The quote made me think how, over the years, I felt like my face showed everything. I don’t have a good poker face, and I don’t know how to lie. So, much of my life, I thought others could read my situation, emotions and feelings based on my outward appearance. Big laugh, right?! Not until I became an adult, did I realize how big of an assumption that really is.
Let’s take my old blog, The Gift I Found, as an example. Those who already knew me thought it was the perfect thing for me. It was the perception that matched their reality of who I was. While I knew it was a relatively large part of who I was and how I conducted myself, I also knew it was still only one piece of my story. “People are more complicated than that.” Which is about half of the reason I decided to leave my previous venture behind – I want to find a way to tell my whole story. When people look at me, I realized I didn’t want them to see me as The Gift Curator. I want to show people on the outside what I am on the inside. I don’t want to be so complicated.
To make the words even more profound, my mind led me back to my grandmother. Which is why I felt I could finally start the next part of the story. As a child, my grandmother was the one who made Christmas come alive. She brought the magic into her home and spread it for me and my siblings. She was the epitome of giving and generosity. Or, so I thought.
Recently, I discovered I am an over-giver. (Yes, it’s a real thing!) While my grandmother was one of the most influential role models in my life, I realized she, too, was an over-giver.
I wish she were still alive today so I could talk to her and ask her the motivations behind her giving. Was she more complicated, too? What did her insides look like that she hid with her beautiful smile and her boisterous laugh?
Back to the story.
Not Until tomorrow –
to be continued…A Tale of Two Blogs, Chapter 9